How to thread a sewing machine (Best tips)

Guidance on the threading sequence you should follow for your sewing machine

If you read the sewing machine troubleshooting solutions, you will realize that properly threading the sewing machine is the solution for most of theproblems in sewing with it.

You ask any sewing expert – my sewing machine is not stitching properly, the thread is getting torn  —–  you will get this answer first : Did you thread your sewing machine properly? Even if you did, rethread it!

The first thing to check if you get a whiff of any of the usual problems in sewing is to check that all the steps in the threading sequence have been complied with.

Threading the sewing machine the right way is a very important first step which shouldn’t be taken lightly at all. So you are on the right track in reading this.

The first thing I would advise you is to go and read your sewing machine manual ( after you have read this post, of course); if you do not have the manual, please get one pronto – check this post for the
sewing machine manual for your particular brand of sewing machine. 

I will outline the general principles of threading a sewing machine here, which is similar to most machines.  

Steps to thread a sewing machine

Step 1

Wind the bobbin before threading the machine

Wind the bobbin with the thread you want on the back of your fabric. Mostly we use the same color thread, but at times like when joining different colored fabric pieces, we will be using a different colored thread on the bobbin from the upper thread (the upper thread, as you know, comes on the face of the fabric).


You will place the empty bobbin on the bobbin thread pin and the thread spool to fill the bobbin on the regular pin. Ensure that the empty bobbin is securely pressed on the pin so the thread does not end up winded under the bobbin. It happens – to careless people, believe me.

Get the tail end of the thread and pull, extending it to the bobbin through the thread winding guide ( The thread guide is a mechanism through which you extend the thread to the bobbin).

Pull the thread to the top through the hole on the bobbin from down. This ensures that the thread ends up on the bobbin. Sometimes I just skip this and wind the bobbin manually once or twice and leave it at that – I do this when some of my bobbins have holes smaller than the eye of the needle. 

Now you will have to ensure that your sewing machine is on a bobbin winder mode. Each machine has a different type of system here. Check your manual about this.

When this mode is on, the sewing machine needle stops moving, and only the bobbin winding will be carried out. Some machines have this engaged by moving a lever in the center of the hand wheel. My machine does this when I move the bobbin pin to the right.    

Press on the machine pedal so that the bobbin starts winding. (Notice that the needle is not moving). Continue operating this till the bobbin is almost full. Most machines will have a sensor near the bobbin pin to tell the machine when to stop.

Remove from the bobbin spindle and disengage the bobbin winder.

I would advise you to power off the machine at this point. This is so that the machine does not accidentally start when you are threading it.

Raise the presser foot and keep it raised as you thread the sewing machine – this is important

Step 2

Take the bobbin and insert it to the bobbin case. Depending on the machine, you may have a separate bobbin case or joined bobbin case. The way you insert the bobbin is most probably indicated on your machine or else definitely in the manual.

Step 3

Keep the thread spool on the thread pin. Turn the handwheel toward you so that the needle is raised to the maximum.

The thread pin may be horizontally placed or vertically placed depending on the machine you have. If it is horizontally placed do place the spool cap a small round cap to secure the thread spool in place.

Guide the thread end through the thread guide. Most machines will have engraved indications of how you should take the thread end toward the needle. Take extra care around the tension guide, as a miss here may be difficult to notice. Also, do not pass the thread through the bobbin thread guide.

Step 4

Just above the needle, most machines have a lever through which the thread is guided. Thread the needle through the needle eye.

Check out the post on the many ways to thread the needle if you have difficulties there.

Many easy ways to thread the hand needles and sewing machine needles are outlined in the post. Ensure that the needle is threaded just the right way mentioned in manual.

My machine needle is threaded from the front to the back, but yours may be different. Leave enough tail of the thread.


Then there is the convenient needle threader which is a lifesaver for many. If you have a sewing machine with a needle threader, definitely use it.

I have a brother sewing machine and checkout the way to use needle threader given in their official website . I suppose the same procedure is applicable for most machines

If you are using a twin needle, you will have the additional steps of changing the needle, presser foot, and attaching an additional thread pin for the other thread spool. You may not be able to use the needle threader with the twin needles.  

Step 5

Hold the thread end and move the hand lever so that the needle goes down and brings up the bobbin thread. Pull the bobbin thread tail. 

Step 6

Hold both the thread tails and bring them to the back of the needle.

If you are like me you may want to use a very simple tool to thread the machine needle very easily – the humble hand-held needle threader.

using the hand needle threader on a sewing machine

You can start sewing now.

If you still have doubts regarding the steps check out this beautifully detailed video

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

6 thoughts on “How to thread a sewing machine (Best tips)”

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